Is Stretching Really Necessary or Beneficial?

I have been running for nearly four decades and for many years I would regularly stretch. However over the last 15 years I have stopped doing that based on the literature and personal experience. So it is reassuring to learn that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed over six decades of research and found that stretching does little to prevent injury during exercise when done outside of a warm-up. In some cases, the increased flexibility that stretching promotes may actually impede performance. Many physicians and exercise physiologists agree that rigorous bouncing, an early incarnation of the stretching and flexibility trend that took root in the 1970s, is not the way to go. Most experts say the bouncing, or ballistic stretching, is more likely to cause injury than other forms of it. Rather than stretching before physical activity one can do the sporting activity at 50 percent of the target intensity.

New York Times April 27, 2004

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